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05 December 2023

50 Indians await trial in liqour, murder cases

By VM Sathish

The controversial court case involving the death sentence of 17 Indians in a Sharjah Shariah court is not yet settled as the Indian Consulate and social insitutions continue to work for the release of the prisoners.

Seventeen Indians, mostly Sikhs from the state of Punjab, are sentenced to death in a liquor-related brawl that culminated in the murder of a Pakistani national and injury to three Pakistani nationals. Indian Consul General in Dubai Sanjay Varma said the next hearing of the case is on February 17.

Meanwhile, reports in Indian media said Dubai-based hotelier and businessman, SP Singh Oberoi, has paid blood money for eight Indians jailed in connection with a murder case. He could not be contacted, but the Indian consul general said he is not aware of the development. 

“There are seven to eight cases involving 50 Indians awaiting trial for liquor and murder-related cases. We are in touch with the parties involved in the case involving the murder of a Pakistani national and the death sentence to 17 Indians currently in the Sharjah prison. We have not reached a stage to pay blood money, but negotiations and deliberations are going on,” Sanjay Varma, who has been closely following the case, told Emirates 24|7.

“The media report could be about one such case in which eight Indians are involved,” Varma said.

Sunil Bhatia, Convener of the Indian Punjabi Association, said he is not aware of any money being paid to settle the most controversial murder case. “We are 14 trustees in the Indian Punjabi Association and SP Singh Obereoi is one of the trustees. We have not raised any money to pay for the families of the murder victim,” he said, adding that more details will be available later.

Indian media reported on Wednesday that “the case involving eight Indians is likely to be settled as the

blood money has been paid to the victim’s father. Dubai-based hotelier and businessman, SP Singh Oberoi, who has paid the money on behalf of those jailed, said the three-judge jury in Sharjah court were handed over the compromise papers.

The report said a final judgment is due on February 6. The Press Trust of India quoted Oberoi as saying in the court: “We arranged the visit of the victim Mumtaz Yousuf’s father Mohammad Yusuf to the UAE. He appeared in the court and said that he has pardoned those involved.” On January 4, the Punjabi youths were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for periods varying from 10 years to life. Emirates 24|7 could not reach Oberoi, but sources working close to him said: “He often visits jails and help the prisoners.”

The Shariah court has also sentenced 17 Indians to death. Evidence, including DNA tests, showed that they had knifed the Pakistani to death in January last year during a fight over the control of illegal liquor business in Al Sajaa area of Sharjah. The Indian Government is offering legal aid to the victims.